On the Sixth Day of Sauciness
My true love gave to me:
Six Sexy Couples
Over the past couple of years, many of the Wenches have discovered the PNR/UF genre together. We've fallen in love with some fascinating couples as we've watched them fall in love with each other, and the path to their Happily Ever After has been fraught with tears, nail biting, and frantic pleas for divine intervention. And that's just our pain — the couples had it much worse. These are six of our favorite couples from the PNR/UF books we've explored together.
Sookie and EricSouthern Vampire Mysteries, by Charlaine Harris
Here's the couple who started it all for many of the Wenches, myself included. We empathized with Sookie's quirky "disability" and cheered her attempts to venture bravely if belatedly into the scary world of romantic relationships and supernatural shenanigans. (Though we had a few issues with her her first boyfriend, the duplicitous vampire Bill.) And then we met Eric, vampire sheriff of Area 5, who respectfully waited for Bill to blow it before moving in. Eric was intrigued by Sookie. But cautious. To survive in the merciless realm of vampire politics, he had to guard against weakness. It took an amnesia spell — forgetting how he was "supposed" to act and why he and Sookie "wouldn't" work — for him to realize he was in love, and once that happened there was no way Sookie (or we) could resist "real" Eric's joie de vivre and the playful affection with which he showered her. (Notice how I worked shower into the discussion?!? *wink*) Together, these two have survived ongoing threats from political and personal enemies of numerous supernatural persuasions and the breaking of their blood bond, and things are still a mess going into the last book. Some readers claim their HEA is not a foregone conclusion, but most of the Wenches (with the possible exception of Guest Wench Miss Piggy) are all firmly convinced that Eric and Sookie will live happily ever after, for the rest of her natural (perhaps slightly extended) life.
Cat and BonesNight Huntress series, by Jeaniene Frost
Were there more books worth reading in this new (to us) genre? We decided to try a second, highly recommended series. There we met young half-vampire Cat and 217-year-old vampire Bones, who thwarted her attempt to murder him, trained her to fight with him against a common enemy, and taught her to embrace her unique abilities ... and him. Unlike Eric, Bones knew exactly what he wanted from the start and made no secret of his feelings. Cat took her time, but she finally figured out what the rest of us already knew: who could resist Bones? These characters are so much fun to read, absolutely hilarious, with some of the hottest sexy scenes in PNR. (Book 2, chapter 32 anyone?!? *fans self*) We swooned repeatedly as Bones patiently but relentlessly wooed Cat, and we've held on for their action-packed adventures as they've evolved into a lethal and sexy-as-hell team of equals.
Chess and TerribleDownside Ghosts series, by Chloe Neill
I have not read this series yet, but some (gentle) virtual arm twisting and soaring rhetoric on behalf of this couple earned them a place on this list, where I'm assured I will be glad I put them as soon as I read this series (which is at the top of my TBR list for 2013). Wench Zee was happy to speak on their behalf:
Chess and Terrible are an unlikely couple. One you think won't happen in a million years when you first start reading the series. But then, you start to notice the chemistry that practically leaps off the page between them. The sexual tension, so thick, you could cut it with a knife. And a level of comfort and understanding that makes you wonder HOW they could NOT be together. In a world full of darkness and despair, these two unconventional leads have found each other.. and more than that, they have found something rare and special. A relationship that makes you sigh as a reader. And root for them to find each other against all odds and have that happily ever after.
Merit and EthanChicagoland Vampires series, by Chloe Neill
After being made vampire against her will by Ethan and assigned to the vampire House he ruled, Merit was prepared to loathe him. She challenged him at every opportunity. Yet he appointed her Sentinel of his House, to guard it against all dangers that she perceived, even him. Ethan trusted the clever strategist and formidable warrior he saw in Merit and offered her the freedom to fully develop. We loved watching them fight against each other. Merit never missed the chance for a little verbal sparring, to create another reason to try to kick his ass. We loved watching them learn to fight with each other to defend the House. We loved watching them learn that it was okay to love each other, too. That rather than weakening and distracting them, love makes them far greater together than they can ever be apart. We can't wait to see what's next for them now that they've committed to being a real team.
Mac and BarronsFever series, by Karen Marie Moning
Who couldn't see the sparks flying between these two as soon as they met? Mac might have thought he was "the kind of man I wouldn't flirt with in a million years", and Barrons' inner beast had to be mortified by Barrons' interest in Pink Mac, because there was no denying it, no matter how hard Barrons tried to hide behind a veneer of indifferent formality with Ms. Lane. Mac showed up in Dublin to investigate her sister's murder with a hole in her heart and not a clue in her head about who she was, what was really going on around her, and what she was capable of. Barrons recognized her great vulnerability and potential, and was always there for her: he sheltered her, protected her, trained her, and brought her back from an insanity no other had survived. He was tough on her because he knew that only the most formidable warriors would still be standing after the battle ahead. He let her believe he cared only about her ability to help him find a book he sought for selfish reasons, but we saw glimpses of profound sadness and ruthless restraint behind the emotional walls he erected. And Mac began to see, too. Two more stubborn protagonists have never been written. Yet they survived every seemingly insurmountable obstacle with the courage to finally trust each other and allow themselves to truly know each other. We're very excited about what's in store for these two when Moning picks their story back up.
Claire and JamieOutlander series, by Diana Gabaldon
This couple has ruined me for all time. I love all these wonderful couples, and quite a few others I've met along the way, but this one is real to me. They feel like members of my own family. I've never been so emotionally wrapped up in a story as I have been in theirs. It took a little time for Diana Gabaldon to persuade me to trust her with my heart, because she likes to take her stories in unexpected and often quite distressing directions. From the time I figured out that the young man who kept popping up (so Claire couldn't get to know any of the men I thought might be "the one") was actually far more interesting than all those other men put together, and as I watched him woo Claire's heart away to a tumultuous new life in a foreign era, I was a goner. In seven loooooong books we have followed Claire and Jamie through alarming adventures, joyful celebrations, and the darkest, most painful periods I've ever sobbed my eyes out over, to attain an indissoluble bond of trust and intimacy that nothing — not unrelenting separation, tragic loss, trickery, deception, torture, kidnapping, war — nothing can break. Claire and Jamie show us not just a beautiful story of two characters falling deeply in love. They show us two characters staying deeply in love. And that is something very few authors know how to write. Lots of them can sweep us off our feet, but I've yet to meet another author who can so beautifully bring to life two people sharing a lifetime, loving each other deeply and forever. And make their story so compelling that I can't put it down and I never want it to end.